The economic realities of today's music industry has affected recording studios where the music is created. Over the past year, fewer projects being funded by major labels and the explosion of home studios has led to the closure of several facilities around town, including the original Larrabee and Music Grinder Studios.
Studio veteran Skip Saylor believes survival for the independent studios will depend on returning to the basics that were prevalent in the industry in the Sixties and Seventies. Well get through this by re-introducing the idea of a one-stop room that can accommodate tracking and mixing in one studio, he says. In recent years, tracks for an album were often recorded at several different studios with various producers and engineers, or recorded at home on ProTools and brought to a commercial studio to fix and mix. The key is offering everything at one place.
To that end, Saylor opened his new facility this past December in the Noho Arts District where he has a 4,000 square-foot space dedicated to making one great record at a time. He adds, a band can come and do their project from start to finish, with top-of-the-line equipment. This includes a 100 input SSL G+, ProTools HD and a Neve sidecar. Saylor's first client of 2004, Elektra band April Sixth, with producer Howard Benson (P.O.D., Hoobastank) and engineer John Goodmanson (Hot Hot Heat, Sleater-Kinney), have January and February locked out to record and mix their upcoming release.
To focus his attention on the new room, Saylor sold his original studio largely a mixing facility last year after two decades of business. When he launched that room initially, the music business was also in a tailspin and he observed that L.A. had only two kinds of studios high end and inexpensive rooms. His goal was to create a haven for artists and producers with mid-price budgets. Adding an SSL console and a new mixing room in 1987 helped build his studio to near legendary status, with clients such as Grammy winners Manhattan Transfer, Toni Braxton, Guns N' Roses, Michael Jackson, k.d. lang, Dr. Dre, Eminem and Mary J. Blige.
Saylor's other music-related enterprises include HitMixers Management Company and the Artist Maker Company. HitMixers began when Saylors engineer friends so busy that they didn't have time to network or bill clients asked him to manage them. His roster features names like Chris Puram (DJ Quik, Mary J. Blige), Jon Gass (Babyface, TLC), Danny Romero (Rafael Saadiq, Nappy Roots), Keith Cohen (Prince, Michael Jackson), Anton (Santana, Jurassic 5) and Ian Blanch (Brandy, Ginuwine). ArtistMaker is a full-service production company where Saylor produces record-quality music from the ground up we are "sound designers for the artists," he says along with a team of veteran record making talent including producer/programmer/songwriter, Chris Johnson (Evanescence, Josh Todd).
Saylor's right-hand man Rollin Moone oversees day-to-day operations and Saylor's songwriter wife Lynn Carey Saylor maintains both the HitMixers.com and ArtistMaker .com Web sites, as well as her own GuitarGirls.com site.
Saylor is known in the recording industry as a "survivor." His ability to remain in business stems from the fact that he continuously studies the game, understands the realties of the music industry and how to adjust to them. It's also his sheer love of music. I love the process of making records. I believe music is important and the world is a better place because of it, he says. "People want to blame the Internet and illegal downloading problem for the decline in the music industry in recent times. But the Internet offers many more opportunities than it takes away.
When the quality of music is at a high level, you will have record sales. I offer the best tools for making high-quality records, all in one place, and provide an environment where artists and record makers can reach their potential and devote their full attention to their art." Saylor may be a studio veteran, but his youthful exuberance remains. "I feel like Im always chasing the great classic records, hoping to capture their magic and creative spirit. It was all about the music then and to me, it still is.
Skip Saylor Recording